The first time I ever poached fruit was when I followed a recipe of Nigella’s for poached peaches. They were very, very good (of course, I adore peaches, so that probably helped), but peeling the peaches is always a bit of a pain. I froze my poaching liquid, intent on making them again…but never did.
Some time passed, the months grew cooler, and pretty soon, the only seasonal fruit was apples, pears, citrus, and bananas. I’d seen plenty of recipes for poached pears before, some even doing a display of pears poached in white and red wine. The ingredient lists were always pretty similar, so I followed the basic suit and went by taste.
I also opted to only poach my pears in red wine, because frankly, they’re pretty! The jewel tones are a perfect match for the cold weather, and the pears are an elegant, yet simple finale to a heavier winter meal.
4 ripe but firm pears, peeled
1 750 ml bottle red wine
1 ½ c sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 orange, cut in half
¼ tsp ginger
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Combine wine and sugar and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add cinnamon stick, clove, orange, ginger, and nutmeg.
Cut base of pear so the pear will stand up straight. Add pear halves and reduce heat to medium. Simmer 30 minutes or until pears are tender.
Turn up heat to medium high and reduce wine until about a cup remains. Refrigerate until ready to use. Serve pears in a pool of wine sauce with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.